ELKINS, W.Va. – Like many cities around West Virginia and around the rest of the country, downtown Elkins in Randolph County looks like an average small town with plenty of small businesses and activity. But also like many others, the county is facing a drug epidemic it’s fighting every day.
“There’s a lot of meth in Randolph County, heroin is prevalent, it’s up and coming again it appears. We’ve been finding more heroin the more we go,” said Sheriff Rob Elbon.
With that in mind, Elbon is asking for federal help by asking to have the county designated as a High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area. That designation is a lot more than a new name. It comes with funds to help the department pay for extra patrols, more drug buys to further investigations, and support efforts to bring cases to a close faster.
“If we can get that money, like I said, it’ll take it to the next level to where we can get these guys working extra hours and something like that when they’re really on something good that they can stay with it until it progresses and we can make an arrest,” Elbon said.
Elbon said those arrests often take time, and area residents need to understand they can’t make instant arrests and have charges stick. But just because those cases are taking time doesn’t mean they’re not progressing, or that they’re being ignored, Elbon stressed.
“I’ve had people say you all are just after the big fish. No, we’re after all of them, because the little guys are the ones selling it to our kids and our communities right here,” said Elbon.
Elbon is also getting support from Rep. Alex Mooney(R- WV 2nd District), who recently sent a letter to the Office of National Drug Control Policy supporting Randolph County’s designation to that list.
Harrison and Monongalia counties are the others in the area that have already received the HIDTA designation.